France has to conquer its deep vaccine skepticism

Published on : Tuesday, December 15, 2020

In fostering the science of vaccination, Louis Pasteur of France might have played the primary role but these days, his compatriots rank among the most fervent anti-vaxxers of the world. As the vaccines for COVID are all prepared to be approved, the French government faces a massive tough time in convincing maximum French to get vaccinated to develop the necessary herd immunity.

If they fail to do so, it could not only slow down the recovery of domestic economy but also the country could find a cut off as other countries decline to allow travel to and from France. In such a scenario, things would be devastating for the tourism of the country which is already walking lamely after encountering 9 months of COVID and two countrywide lockdowns.

The deep vaccine cynicism is appearing dreadful in a country that prides on its scientific ability and its embrace of fraternité — a value that rejoice the common good.

Yet according to a poll published on December 3rd by CNEWS, 61% of French explained that they would not get the vaccine for COVID, when it becomes available. That was in order with a survey released 2 days earlier by Le Journal du Dimanche which put the figure at 59%. That was slightly on the higher side than the 50% who told Franceinfo in November that they would not accept the vaccine.

Even the survey of National Public Health agency in France was slightly more optimistic. On December 3rd, Santé Publique reported that 53% would “certainly” or “probably” get the vaccine. However, in July, that was down by 64%.

Also, the details of the Santé Publique polls had some shocking facts. Women are less likely than men to want the vaccine. And only 55% of nurses said they would get the vaccine.

As the surveys offer a slight range, in common, they place France far behind other important nations in regard to vaccine acceptance. As France Inter reports, up to 87% in India and 85% in China say they would get vaccinated. Closer to home, in the U.K. its 79%, and in Germany it’s 69%.

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